July 10, 2010

Excerpt of the Day: From the WSJ, on Ohio’s Big-Picture Problem and LeBron’s Departure

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:14 am

In an editorial today, as “King James” moves to Miami:

While LeBron’s departure got extraordinary media attention, it is hardly unique. In the early 1990s, Ohio was the home of 43 Fortune 500 companies. Twenty years later the number is 24. Census Bureau data show that from 2004-2008 Ohio saw a net outmigration of $6 billion of income and some 97,000 taxpayers. Even Ohio’s famously liberal Senator, the late Howard Metzenbaum, moved to Florida late in his life to reduce his estate taxes.

We feel for Cleveland fans, but maybe they should allocate some of their wrath to the state politicians who keep driving high-income individuals and their businesses to financially sunnier climes.

Whether or not you think taxes partially motivated LeBron’s relo decision (I think not, but watch whether he sticks to his stated intention to continue living in Akron), the fact is that Ohio’s taxes and lousy business climate clearly ARE influencing others’ decisions to go elsewhere. Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, a Democrat, has even wistfully mentioned retiring to Florida and selling T-shirts.

Yet the indefensible status quo’s defenders, who have NO credible solutions of their own, continue to ridicule the idea of phasing out the state’s income tax. The questions they can’t and won’t answer are: How do Florida, and Texas, and the several other states that don’t tax income get by? If they do, why can’t Ohio? Given the outmigration and the need to genuinely turn things around, what good reason is there not to give it a shot?


Separately: How is it that “King James” has a nickname, Kobe Bryant doesn’t, and Michael Jordan’s “Air Jordan” and less-often used “His Airness” faded as his career progressed? My theory: The prominence of a person’s nickname is inversely proportional to one’s ability to deliver NBA championships. Yeah, I think LeBron should have stayed, and his departure act was classless. This is not the same guy who at age 17 handled his team’s defeat at the hands of Cincinnati’s Roger Bacon High School in the 2002 Ohio State Championship game with exemplary sportsmanship:

James made a point of walking over to Roger Bacon’s bench during postgame ceremonies, where he slapped hands with Spartans coaches and players.

How sad that he’s so different.


Related Fun with Numbers: The net outmigration stats cited work out to over $61,800 per taxpayer — not the people you want to be losing in large numbers.



  1. We (Florida) get by just fine without a state income tax, and let me tell you, that extra cash that we don’t have to fork over to the state DOES help.

    P.S. Minor correction, while Kobe does not have a nickname as you stated that is not correct about Micheal Jordan did. Remember that he was “Air Jordan” (hence the name of his signature shoe) and less frequently “His Airness.”

    Comment by zf — July 10, 2010 @ 11:24 am

  2. #1, I thought “Air Jordan” was the name of the shoe and that it appeared without the benefit of the previous nickname. Obviously that’s not correct.

    Comment by TBlumer — July 10, 2010 @ 12:46 pm

  3. Oops grammar issue there, it should say, “while Kobe does not have a nickname as you stated that is not correct about Micheal Jordan, he did have at least two.”

    Comment by zf — July 10, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

  4. #3 and #1, I don’t think “His Airness” ever made it to the level of a commonly used nickname. I know I’m disagreeing with Wikipedia on this one, but so be it.

    Comment by TBlumer — July 10, 2010 @ 1:23 pm

  5. It was nowhere near the level of “Air Jordan” but it was used fairly frequently. I watched a lot of basketball in the day (and also the repeats of classic games that air on various stations) and the name came up on more than a few occasions. Trust me (not wikipedia, which has a ton of stuff wrong anyway) on this one.

    I wish LeBron had stayed in Cleveland, too. As a Magic follower, having a Heat team with Bosh, Wade, and LeBron as conference rivals does not exactly fill me with glee.

    Comment by zf — July 10, 2010 @ 11:30 pm

  6. Just for the heck of it I did Google searches on ["Michael Jordan" "Air Jordan"] and ["Michael Jordan" "His Airness."] The hit score was 772,000 to 67,100. That said, the entries in the latter category indicate that the nickname got enough penetration to make it into titles of vids and things like that.

    Comment by TBlumer — July 11, 2010 @ 6:38 am

  7. Magin Johnson had a nickname. Maybe that’s because his real name was “Earvin”.

    “Kobe” sounds cool by itself, and it unique enough to clearly identify the individual without using the last name.

    “James” is generic. So “King James”, like the Bible, is a nice shorthand. Enables quick yet clear identification of the subject in a conversation.

    “Michael Jordan” rolls off the tongue effortlessly. So it’s easy to use both first and last names early in a conversation, to identify the subject person. Therefore, Michael Jordan didn’t need a nickname. But “Kobe Bryant” has hard consonauts, thus the incentive for speakers to NOT use the last name nor need a nickname added. Not many Kobes around, so no need to create a nickname.

    FWIW, I don’t follow sports much. Didn’t know of “King” with “James” until this post.

    Comment by Cornfed — July 11, 2010 @ 10:05 pm

  8. Yeah, but using your argument then the nickname “King James” is also unnecessary. After all, LeBron is just as rare and distinctive a name as Kobe. And as we already established, Jordan *did* have a nickname, two in fact, a major one and a minor one. He also called just “MJ” but I guess that’s not really a nickname, per se…

    (P.S. Can’t believe I’m still talking about this, but hey, it’s a needed distraction from all the insanity going on. )

    Comment by zf — July 13, 2010 @ 10:28 am

  9. #8, sadly, re insanity, I’m afraid it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

    Comment by TBlumer — July 13, 2010 @ 11:59 am

  10. #8, Thanks, good points. :->

    Comment by Cornfed — July 13, 2010 @ 12:27 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.